Exodus 4

Unbelief refuses to believe God because it does not find in self a reason for believing.
With God, the merest stammerer may prove an efficient minister,
neither need he be uneasy as to the reception of the message.

1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

6 ¶ And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

10 ¶ And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

18 ¶ And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

24 ¶ And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

27 ¶ And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

29 ¶ And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

Exodus 4:1-9 – God’s Signs to Confirm Moses’ Words

   This wonderful chapter tells us how Moses’ three misgivings were tenderly and sufficiently dealt with by his heavenly Friend. To his first misgiving God made answer by giving him three signs. Here first we meet with that rod which was so often stretched out, over the land of Egypt, over the sea, and during the sojourn in the Wilderness. Moses was but a rod, but what cannot a rod do, if handled by an Almighty hand!
   Leprosy was the type of sin, and the cleansed hand suggests God’s marvelous power in cleansing, and so qualifying for service, all who yield themselves to Him. The third sign of the water turned to blood was not less significant, revealing the divine power operating through this feeble human instrument to produce wonderful effects in the world of nature. We must not live on signs, but on the Holy Spirit, though the outward sign reassures and strengthens us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

It was probably only a shepherd’s crook. What a history, however, awaited it! It was to be stretched out over the Red Sea, pointing a pathway through its depths; to smite the flinty rock; to win victory over the hosts of Amalek; to be known as the rod of God. When God wants an implement for His service He does not choose the golden sceptre, but a shepherd’s crook; the weakest and meanest thing He can find – a ram’s horn, a cake of barley meal, an ox-goad, an earthen pitcher, a shepherd’s sling. A rod with God behind it is mightier than the vastest army. (F.B. Meyer)

Exodus 4:10-17 – God’s Promises Overcome Moses’ Reluctance

   To Moses’ second misgiving God made a promise of exceeding beauty, which all who speak for God should consider. Compare Exodus 4:12 with Jeremiah 1:7-9 and I Corinthians 2:4. If we looked at our natural powers as Paul used to do, we should glory in our lack of eloquence, as affording a better platform on which God might work. See II Corinthians 12:9-10.
   In answer to the third misgiving God gave him his brother as assistant. Indeed, he was already on his way; but he was a weak man, and gave to Moses a great amount of anxiety and pain in their afterlife. After all, it is best for a man to lean only on God for counsel and ready help. If we step forth with this supreme alliance, we shall escape the hampering association with Aarons. We may as well get all we need at first-hand. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Exodus 4:10 – I am not Eloquent.

   This is what we all say. We think more of the words than of the message; more of our eloquence or slowness of speech than of the King’s seal and signature. Moses had learned many wholesome lessons through his long sojourn in Midian; but he had to learn this last one, that God does not want excellency of speech or of language in his messengers, but the unction and power which come on those who speak after direct audience with the Eternal. Aaron, who came to meet Moses, could speak well; but he was a weak man, whose alliance with Moses caused his nobler younger brother much anxiety and pain. However, God determined to send Aaron with him, to be his colleague and spokesman. Better a thousand times had it been for Moses to trust God for speech, than be thus deposed of his premiership.
   Be sure to get thy message from the King.—Wait before Him in the inner shrine, till He says the word which thou shalt speak. This will give thee the real eloquence of the heart.
   Look up for the right words.—The Apostle said that the Corinthians were enriched in all utterance; and he said that he spoke the Divine mysteries in words which the Holy Spirit taught. Ask for these, and you will not be disappointed.
   Rely on the Divine co-operation.—There is another force at work, more subtle and penetrating than the most eloquent words of man—the power of the Holy Ghost. Seek for his Divine demonstration and co-witness. And it shall come to pass, that mysterious influences shall move over the hearts of those that listen to thy words, which shall attest the mighty fellowship and co-operation of One whom the natural man cannot detect. —Our Daily Homily

It was a very grudging assent. It was as much as to say, “Since Thou art determined to send me, and I must undertake the mission, then let it be so; but I would that it might have been another, and I go because I am compelled.” So often do we shrink back from the sacrifice or obligation to which God calls us, that we think we are going down to our doom. We seek every reason for evading the Divine will, little realizing that He is forcing us out from our quiet home into a career which includes, among other things, the song of victory on the banks of the Red Sea; the two lonely sojourns for forty days in converse with God; the shining face; the vision of glory; the burial by the hand of Michael; and the supreme honor of standing beside the Lord on the Transfiguration Mount. (F.B. Meyer)

Exodus 4:18-31 – Moses and Aaron Announce God’s Purpose to Israel

   So often the keenest tests of a man’s fitness for his life-work are furnished by his behavior in his home. It may be that Zipporah had resisted the earlier imposition on her son of the initial rite of the Jewish faith and her proud soul had to yield. No man who has put his hand to God’s plow can take counsel with flesh and blood, or look back. At whatever cost we must set our own house in order, before we can emancipate a nation.
   When God designs it, He will contrive for us to meet the man, or men, who are to help us in our life mission. Our paths meet in the Mount of God. When the Alps were bored for the railway track, the work started on either side, and the workers met in the middle. Help is coming to you from unexpected quarters, and will meet you when you need it most. —Through the Bible Day by Day